POPULATION, SOCIETY, AND DEVELOPMENT INTS 4465
TUESDAY 2-5PM, BCH 220
TUESDAY / THURSDAY 12-2, OR BY APPOINTMENT
Objectives and Overview
Population issues are the Swiss Army Knife of the foreign policy toolkit: in a pinch, they can behandy for almost any purpose. If someone utters the sad
cliché “Demography is destiny”
, you can be sure of three things: they know very little about the science or substance of demography, theydo not really believe that demography is destiny, and they have some hidden agenda. This coursewill subvert the raw manipulation of demographic factoids with a critical understanding of themoderate but significant role of population in determining the fates of our planet and society. Inthe process, we may also gain a clearer picture of the ideology behind the clichés, and their oftendreadful consequences for human well-being.Unfortunately, these goals demand that we first build a basic understanding of the science ofdemography. As a methodology, demography is the study of vital events
birth, death, marriage,and migration
and their effect on the size and composition of populations. The first five weekswill cover demographic measurement and change. We will also attempt to connect the concept ofpopulation composition (particularly in terms of age) to the production, consumption, andexchange of resources and power within and between populations. In the closing weeks we willapply our demographic understanding to a range of social problems including development,environmental degradation, and conflict. Throughout the course we will explore the role ofidentity and solidarity in shaping our supposed demographic realities, and how even our mostfixed categories are constantly being reshaped.
NB: I will be out of the country during Week 10. We will discuss ways to make up this time during the first class session.
Take home Final Exam (40%):
Because the class is mostly conceptual in nature, it is essential thatyou be tested on your core understanding of demographic concepts. You will receive a take-homefinal examination
at the end of the final class, November 10
. You will answer three essayquestions (out of a total of five options). Your answers will need to be thoughtful, concise, andinformed by the course readings and lectures. The exam must be returned by
Friday November13, 5pm.
The exam should take about 10 hours of your time.
Problem sets (20%):
Because demography is a numerical science, we must build upon a basicunderstanding of demographic measures and methods. You will receive four problem sets duringthe course. Each will account for 5% of your grade.